Other Amphibian of the Week

Rough Skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa)

Rough Skinned Newt
photo by DSHil

Common Name: Rough Skinned Newt
Scientific Name: Taricha granulosa
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Canada and the United States
US Location: Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
Max Size: 8.6 inches(22 cm) entire length. 3.4 inches (8.6 cm) for Snout to Vent

The Rough Skinned Newt is the most poisonous newt in North America. Its poison is used to scare off predators and is even harmful to humans. When attacked or threatened, the Rough Skinned Newt moves into the unken reflex position, where the newt raises its head and tail up so the predator can see the bright coloration that warns that the species is poisonous. Other amphibians also perform the unken reflex.

Rough skinned newt
photo by Henk Wallays

Every year, the newts migrate to their breeding sites. Mating happens from March to May, depending on where the newts live. Males try to court females through amplexus and rubbing their head on the female’s head. Fertilization for the species is internal. The male deposits sperm on a surface and the female picks it up. The female then lays eggs shortly after.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Rough Skinned Newt as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and are pretty common.

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